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Forsberg eager to earn place on Predators roster

by Connor Mellas /

The Nashville Predators' development camp is underway, and though hockey fans in Music City are primarily focused on the arrival of defenseman Seth Jones, forward Filip Forsberg also is hard at work preparing for the 2013-14 season.

"It's been pretty tough, you know, tough days, we're working out in the morning on the track and then we have ice, and in the afternoon we have workouts," Forsberg told, addressing the first two days of camp. "It's pretty hard, but that's how it's supposed to be."

Forsberg, the No. 11 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, was acquired by the Predators from the Washington Capitals just before the NHL Trade Deadline last season in exchange for veteran wing Martin Erat and minor-league center Michael Latta.

Forsberg (6-foot-1, 186 pounds) spent most of 2012-13 playing for Leksands IF in his native Sweden, where he had 15 goals, 18 assists, 33 points and a plus-11 rating in 38 games.

Forsberg, 18, said believes the experience gained in Sweden has been vital to his growth as a player. Forsberg spent the past two seasons playing in HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden's second-highest professional level. In 2012-13, he helped set the stage for Leksand's promotion to the top tier, the Elitserien.

"I've been playing with [Leksand IF] for a couple of years now, and I think that's been a great way to develop for me. I've been always competing and trying to get better, and to compete against much older guys is great," Forsberg said. "I just try to become better every day, and I think that has been successful so far."

Forsberg captained Sweden's entry at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. In six games, he had three goals and five points in helping Sweden capture the silver medal.

"I'm a pretty big-sized forward, [I try] to create scoring chances, I've got a good shot and good hands, and that's what I try to use in my type of game," Forsberg said.

On April 14, Forsberg made his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings. In five games for the Predators in 2012-13, Forsberg managed one assist. He did not score a goal.

He's eager to build on that brief NHL stint in 2013-14.

"I've got to get stronger and more ready to play NHL games," Forsberg said. "[I've got to become] stronger and faster, it's a very new type of game that you're playing here, compared to the hockey I've been playing back at home.

"I'm going back to Sweden on Sunday, and then I'm going to have to work out a lot to get ready, as I said before. Then, wherever I will play, we'll see, and the future is looking pretty good. I just need to put the effort in and work."

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